Despite a global pandemic, Spearline’s deployment of a successful work-from-home model enabled the company’s eventual acquisition of testRTC, writes Colman McCaffrey.
2020 began like any other year. Privately and professionally, we all had big plans for the year ahead. It was the beginning of a new decade and the future looked bright. That was until COVID-19 hit and life was turned upside down in an instant.
At Spearline’s head office in Ireland – and indeed across our sites internationally – we weren’t taking any chances. As the pandemic escalated, gaining more and more momentum as it moved from country to country, we began to track the spread of the virus.
We watched as case numbers increased through Italy, the US and other countries, and we set about forming a pandemic sub-committee to monitor Government advice.
From early indications globally, we foresaw mandatory office closures coming down the line, and so we decided to strike preemptively, closing all our Spearline offices before the Government took the decision out of our hands.
In early March 2020, Spearline staff carried out individual work-from-home assessments, examining their potential working conditions and reporting back on home internet speeds and any other concerns they had.
Getting a head start on this information enabled us to ensure that, when the eventuality of a shutdown came, we were prepared to hit the ground running. Operating ahead of the curve bought us a few extra weeks to establish what was needed to successfully transition to a full work-from-home model.
We ensured everyone had strong and secure broadband, ordering additional dongles and softphones where necessary. As a company, it was imperative we were not asking our providers or partners in highly affected areas to make unnecessary journeys or put their colleagues or families at risk.
At Spearline, we were in the lucky position that a lot of our work was already taking place online. Using Google Suite for our mail and documents, for example, meant we had never been reliant on office-based servers.
Similarly, with offices around the world, we were already used to not always being across a table from each other.
Since the establishment and expansion of the company, we had been collaborating remotely on a daily basis and so, the transition to fully remote working was a relatively straightforward process for all concerned.
Of course, as with many other companies, our teams had to adapt to working on their own, in many cases sitting at their kitchen table instead of in an office, but Spearline certainly wasn’t alone in this regard.
From the outset, existing work practices were maintained and new practices, such as improved online internal communications and performance management tools, were introduced.
This was to ensure staff were able to collaborate and team KPIs could still be measured, despite teams not working together on site. By making sure all employees were able to continue their work with minimal disruption, we ensured that we remained competitive and were able to continue our innovation.
Needless to say, we didn’t want our performance or our standards to drop, even just a little, due to remote working, and so, every measure was taken to deploy an effective, positive work-from-home system that catered to the needs of the staff and facilitated Spearline’s continued success.
Since early 2020, it has become more important than ever that managers can ensure their teams are working towards a common goal, and our revised practices – rolled out across all our office bases – have ensured we have been able to achieve this.
Attempting to do the same thing remotely, as face-to-face in an office setting, simply wouldn’t have enabled us to continue to expand the business. And so, from day one, we knew innovation was key.
Across all sectors, COVID brought about much confusion as to how businesses would move forward, but at Spearline, our expansion objectives became all the more evident.
As the usage of online and remote communications grew, both by Spearline staff and customers, the awareness of the importance of Unified Communication technologies also increased. Despite the global pandemic, we recognized another opportunity to evolve our offering.
In order to keep pace with the rapidly changing manner in which people work and communicate, we realized the importance of collaboration with companies in the WebRTC space. Ultimately, this led to our acquisition of Israeli company testRTC in November 2021, with further expansion in the US and other markets planned for 2022.
By incorporating testRTC’s suite of products and services, we have significantly increased the extent of our capabilities and further expanded in the US market, successfully merging the skills and experience of the two services into a single telecommunications solution.
A recognized leader in the provision of WebRTC solutions, testRTC was designed and built for the new generation of real-time communications. The acquisition has added six new WebRTC-focused tools to Spearline’s existing offering, at a time when the manner in which companies work and communicate is changing rapidly.
There’s no doubt that the period from the end of 2019 to the end of 2021 was trying, not just for Spearline, but for companies all over the world. Nonetheless, we have found ourselves in a position where our smart innovation and commitment to the new working-from-home model has allowed us to further expand, acquiring a new suite of WebRTC tools and emerging onto the US market.
It has been gratifying to see Spearline rise above the challenges presented by COVID-19 and still manage to innovate in an exciting, competitive market, all the while serving our clients and protecting our staff.